WA-03: Baird Will Retire

In another setback for the bean-counters over at the DCCC, Democrats will have to defend yet another competitive open seat next year. Tim Sahd has the scoop:

Rep. Brian Baird (D-WA) announced his retirement tonight, becoming the third Dem in a vulnerable seat to announce his departure in the last few weeks. “The time has now come to pursue other options, other ways of serving. Hence, I am announcing today that I do not intend to seek reelection to Congress in 2010,” Baird wrote in a statement. “This is not an easy decision to be sure, but I believe it is the right decision at the right time.”

The CD, with a Cook PVI of EVEN, is a very fertile open seat for GOPers to attack. Washougal City Councilor Jon Russell (R) and WA House GOP caucus ex-CoS David Castillo (R) were already running and prepared to face Baird. Several new candidates are likely to emerge.

Obama carried this district by a 52-46 margin, but Bush won it twice by two-point spreads in both 2004 and 2000. There’s no word yet on who Democrats plan to recruit here, but I would expect big moves on both sides of the fence in the coming days.

UPDATE: Reid teases a few potential Dem names:

Dem sources, meanwhile, believe state Sen. Craig Pridemore (D) and state Rep. Brendan Williams (D) are potential candidates to replace Baird. Pridemore is from Vancouver, and Williams is from northern Thurston Co.

ANOTHER UPDATE (Crisitunity): On the Dem side, it’ll probably be Pridemore. He wouldn’t have to give up his state Sen. seat to run in 2010. He has the advantage of being from Vancouver, increasingly the district’s population center. He’s an Army vet and pretty well-liked. On the GOP side, I’d bet on state Sen. Don Benton, also from Vancouver, who ran against Baird in 1998 when it was an open seat and got to 45%. Benton also gets a free shot in 2010. Another possibility is state Sen. Joe Zarelli, who also ran against Baird (in 2002) but only got to 38%, which is what generic wingnut is usual good for in that district. One other possibility is state House minority leader Richard DeBolt, from Centralia in the middle of the district. The article also mentions state Rep. Jaime Herrera, who’s a former aide to Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, and who already seems to be moving to get into the race.

EXTRA UPDATE (David): The New York Times just had a story the other day profiling Vancouver, WA – and how the city often gets confused with its Canadian neighbor in the same region.

GOP UPDATE (David): Republican state Rep. Jaime Herrera has already said she’ll run. The 31-year-old Herrera is a former aide to Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and was appointed to fill a vacant state House seat in 2007, which she won outright last year. Politico calls the seat “competitive,” but according the Swing State Project’s in-house analysis of presidential results at the legislative level in Washington, this district has a 2008 PVI of R+6, making it the tenth-most Republican in the state (out of 49). It went for Bush 57-42 and McCain 52-47. There are already a few GOPers already in the race, so it remains to be seen whether Herrera will clear the primary.

Dem Update (David): Hotline says their sources are suggesting a couple of other potential names: Clark Co. Commis. Steve Stuart (D) and Rep. Deb Wallace (D).

One Last Update (Crisitunity): The only electoral opponent Herrera has ever faced was a Democratic unknown in 2008, whom she defeated 60-40 in both the top 2 primary and the general. She’s never faced off against another Republican; as remarked above, she was appointed to her position in 2007 (Washington fills legislative vacancies by appointment rather than by fast special election)… after Republican state Rep. Richard Curtis had to resign after a little gay escort scandal.

RaceTracker Wiki: WA-03

75 thoughts on “WA-03: Baird Will Retire”

  1. Baird succeeded Linda Smith, when she ran against Patty Murray for WA-SEN in ’98.

    Smith won the seat in ’94 over Joelene Unsold, who was sort of like Howard Dean – including her “A” rating from the NRA.

    The RNC had their favorite – but Smith beat that person in the R primary in a write-in campaign. She beat Unsold in the ’94 R tide.

    Anyone who has driven between Seattle and Portland has been through WA-03 (basically Olympia to Vancouver WA) – and has seen the so-called “Uncle Sam Billboard,” sort of an oracle that would fit in the mainstream of today’s teabaggers.

    I’m sorry to see Baird go. Except for Iraq, he was a pretty reliable D.

    Look for a tough fight in this district – despite the D leanings of Olympia and Vancouver, it’s a relatively strong area for the religious right, especially given its location on the West Coast.

    Nevertheless, there is a decent D bench in the area, as suggested by the diary.

  2. By any stretch of the imagination, but that’s three retirements in the past two weeks.  And all of them come in districts rated between even and R+6.  

    Folks, we’re going to have a tough time holding WA-3, KS-3, and TN-8.  And the worst part is that these aren’t overwhelmingly R seats where we’d get a blue dog at best.  These are progressive representatives for the most part that are dropping out.  Not good at all.  We just can’t afford retirements in even districts like this, certainly not at this rapid a pace.

  3. The drumbeat of ‘the dems are going down’ surely has to play into some of these incumbents’ decision processes as they consider whether to retire.  I tend to think that this drumbeat is overblown — no way the House is going to change hands in 2010.  But it could be partially self-fulfilling if it helps nudge Democrats against running for re-election.

  4. Just heard on the local news that Vancouver WA hotels are getting requests for Olympic 2010 reservations from all over the world.

    Vancouver BC is about 300 mi north of Vancouver WA, so that would be a bit of a commute. (Whistler, the main ski mountain for the Olympics, is about 75mi further north.)

  5. Dems had a TOTAL of only 18 open seats in 2006/2008.  That is extremely low.  The retirements had to catch up with us sooner or later.  I’m not reading more into this than there actually is.

  6. Washington has nonpartisan redistricting, and thanks to the Vancouver area’s explosive growth, it’s very likely that by 2012, the district will contract and withdraw from Thurston County. That would be a certainty if Washington gained a tenth seat.

  7. I assumed that since it’s Washington State it had to be safe.  I guess it’s much more of a tussle than I imagined.

  8. Yes, NW progressives liked to kick Baird around. But he did good work w/r/t continuity of government – aka making sure we continue as a democracy if DC were nuked.

    As for Smith, she’s a wingnut, no question – but strange for a wingnut – she supported campaign finance reform. With her vote against Gingrich for Speaker in ’07, she might even be called a (what’s that term McCain used?)

    And I wouldn’t necessarily discount her from running again – (she’s 59) at least from her Wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L… , she’s done significant work fighting slavery in the sex trade here and in India. If the work is credible, it would be the kind of thing that could get her crossover D voters.

    The one WA political blog where I find speculation is http://horsesass.org/  – a early assessment is shown here http://horsesass.org/?p=22975

    On the Democratic side, the names being bandied about include state Senator Craig Pridemore of Vancouver, Rep. Deb Wallace of Vancouver, Rep. Brendan Williams of Olympia, and Cowlitz County Commissioner Axel Swanson.

    I can’t say I know much of anything about these names. Though I suspect there’s some resentment in Vancouver about those of us Ds in Portland who are trying to stop the bridge.

    And as for the usual discussion about what kind of district the Third is, well, it’s a swing district pure and simple.

    Basically the district is purple, with blue Olympia, blueish Vancouver (Clark County) bracketing deep red counties – and swing lumber/fishing strong labor areas on the coast.

  9. Dennis Moore is a much bigger loss (tougher seat and a more progressive rep) and Tanner’s seat, too, will probably be tougher to hold than this one. With Obama winning 56-44 here, I think Baird’s is actually the least worrying retirement announced so far.

    But please, Ike Skelton, for the love of baby Jesus, just one more term. Missouri will redistrict your seat away in 2012, so just hang on until then….

  10. sadly can see Ike Skelton retiring next. He hasn’t had a competitive race in decades…and he’s old enough that he decides that it would be better to pack it in.

  11. Okay, that weakens my point, though doesn’t completely invalidate it. KS-03 is still a bit tougher than WA-03…

  12. http://www.seattlepi.com/local

    Under a “Top Two” system, whichever two candidates get the most votes advance to the general election, regardless of party affiliation or the preference of the state party organizations. Handily approved by voters in 2004, the system has never been tried here because of the parties’ lawsuit.

    Weirdly enough, it was upheld by a Supremes ruling – where Thomas wrote for the Majority – and Scalia dissented.

  13. one of the Democrats strategy should be, I think, is to encourage and fund third party teabagger candidates throughout the country in competitive districts.

  14. Yeah, Washington voters, straight up experimentin’ with the electoral system! What I wouldn’t give for one state, just ONE state, to switch to maybe like mixed parliamentary-style proportions and big “at-large-style” districts …

    But seriously, that does create some major incentives for parties to cluster around one candidate…I’m sure two Dems wouldn’t be assured of getting the top spots unless there was a huge clusterfart of Republicans and teabaggers and religious wingnuts…which there could potentially be here it seems….

  15. The reports show interviews with hotel managers who state that they explain the difference between the cities – and the distance –

    but saying that they would still welcome the business. So locally, they’re not intentionally trying to deceive anyone who calls. (Though I don’t know what they’ll do with on-line reservations.)

  16. If the leading candidate in a Louisiana primary got > 50%, there was no general election for the seat.

    In WA, if the top two candidates get say 80% and 15%, they still hold a general election between the two.

  17. I think the Washington system makes it more likely that a teabagger can sneak into the second round with a small % of the vote.

  18. What you hope for is that their guys consolidate around the nut, and your guys consolidate around the moderate liberal. Of course, there are possible strange permutations (i.e, it’s not impossible to imagine Bill Jefferson having ended up in a runoff against David Duke. . . .)

  19. I have trouble getting attracted to Republicans.  Everyone tells me that Sarah Palin is quite good looking, but I’m just don’t see it.  

    I’ve seen this with non-politicians too, there was this woman at work that I thought was quite good looking, but once I found out that she was a conservative, I pretty much lost interest.

  20. …if progressives could learn not to switch over into ‘hot or not’ mode just because a political candidate happens to be female.

    I know the internet is full of commentary about the looks of any woman in the public eye (and lots of men).  But if we could do it less, that would be better.

  21. One offhanded comment caused all that discussion/debate?  Now I see why the Tiger Woods nonsense gobbles up the news these days…

  22. California special elections can be won outright with 50%+1 of the vote. Jackie Speier did just that in the special election following Tom Lantos’ passing.

  23. Don’t they have a legal system different from all other states?  I’m pretty sure their system is the only state derived from the French.

  24. If people think one party is going to do poorly in an election, the higher tier competitors for the opposite party will entire races they wouldnt have otherwise won.

    If a candidate has poor fundraising, to most it means they suck as a candidate, and wont donate them money.

  25. Actually on the outskirts. Such a beautiful, fragrant part of the country, with all the tall cedar trees from all that rain. Aren’t there a fair number of environmentalists among the loggers in that district?

  26. Louisiana law is based off of French, rather than English, common law. France has a similar run-off election system (i.e., the clever system that brought Jean-Marie Le Pen close to the presidency several years ago… kind of analagous to David Duke in ’91).

  27. Not until June 2009.  As far as Im concerned, not a damn thing has been settled considering the 2010 election save for who may be on the ballot.

  28. If that’s low, do you know what the average is? Since, say, post-WWII or since 1980s or something? If there are roughly 250 members of the Democratic caucus, 9 per cycle (4% roughly) does at least seem low. I’d just like to know how low…

  29. At-large districts in states with more than one House seat are not allowed.

    State legislative seats don’t have the same restrictions as the House. For example, you can’t have multi-member Congressional districts, but you can have multi-member state legislative districts. Vermont’s bizarre State Senate districts are the most extreme example of this.

  30. if I remember right, it was Whoops (nuclear plant in a environmentally risky location / economic screw up) related. Before that, the district was represented by Don Bonker, a moderate D economic free trade geek.

    Boeing still has a huge impact on the state – and they support Rs and Ds alike, as long as they’re pro-free trade. Even Jim McDermott has a mixed record on the issue.

  31. Maybe the only reason we ever hear hot or not comments is because the people usually commenting are straight males, which is a different aspect of sexism altogether.

    I’ve got some tequila in me, I’ll play devil’s advocate.

  32. Human beings have sexuality to other human beings.  Pointing it out is not sexist.  I have probably heard more about Aaron Schock’s good looks over the past year than any other Congressman.  We’ve heard a lot about Barack Obama’s good looks too.  Is that sexist?

    In fact, the notion that a candidate is good-looking (and therefore telegenic) is actually somewhat relevant to the electoral politics mission of SSP.

  33. Yea this trend is not good and I fear will only get worse.

    If we not only lose this seat, but lose it to a young attractive hispanic woman (a type of house member that the GOP sorely needs) It will hurt in more ways than one.

  34. My belief: bar room talk w/r/t the physical characteristics of a candidate is not appropriate, especially for those who believe in equal rights.

    However, it is a unfortunate fact of life that people are more or less likely to vote for a candidate based on certain physical characteristics, such as height.

  35. “And Then There Were None.”  But that is a little too dark and too ominous.  I do think we’ll have a few Congresscritters left after 2010.

  36. the halcyon days of the Daily Kos pie wars.  To pie or not to pie!  I was in favor of pie, needless to say.

  37. I remember that one well.  It was a major embarrassment for the French Socialists finishing a distant third while LePen’s (basically fascist) party slipped into second in the initial round and faced Chirac in the run-off.  It was seen as very embarrassing that LePen came so close in the first ballot and he ended up getting rolled with barely 15% in the run-off with everyone outside of the far-right backing Chirac.

  38. To the district represented by Norm Dicks?

    Is it likely Washington gets another seat in 2012? I didn’t think they were likely to pick another one up in the coming cycle.

  39. http://www.swingstateproject.c

    I gather they’re on the cusp – either WA or SC will get an extra seat, not both.

    If WA gets a new seat, I’d guess it’d be somewhere in metro Seattle.

    In either case, the rest of Thurston could be made part of Dicks’ seat – I think he’s from Tacoma. Alternatively, Adam Smith’s district might be moved south.

  40. The only way anyone could read this shitty blog is if they were half in the bag!  😉

    I read and post at SSP from 9am until the wee hours of the morning, regardless if Ive been drinking or not!

  41. Wehn I post after midnight EST on weekends chances are I’ve just returned from the sports pub after many shots of Bacardi/Jager/151.  Sometimes I get up the next day and wonder who made those idiotic posts.

  42. People say, “She’s hot,” “He’s hot.” It’s no big deal.  I don’t think we owe politicians any greater dignity than we owe other women and men on the streets.  I have never understood this line of thought that it’s inappropriate to acknowledge and talk about someone’s sexuality because that person happens to be a woman.

    While there are no doubt inappropriate (and worse) ways to talk about someone’s sexuality, nothing on this thread comes remotely close to crossing that line.

Comments are closed.